Uber announced this past Wednesday that it would be launching an electric bike sharing service in Germany dubbed JUMP bikes that it had purchased. This is a bid to diversify and mend bridges with the local authorities on account the company has been banned from several European cities.
The company’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi claimed at the Noah tech conference that it would potentially be a replacement for Uber trips so the company can mean more than just vehicular transportation and help resolve the traffic issues that every city is facing. He was quite clear about his commitment to the German market and the European scope at large, emphasizing his point by arriving on stage with a bright red Jump bike.
Uber Faces Tough Time in Europe
Now this move may not yield the best results even though it was warranted to breach the market. Uber has already had a tough time in Europe with protests being made by traditional taxi drivers which have resulted in violence. Court orders have also stopped its services from being provided in Germany, Italy, Belgium and Spain. Uber purchased the Jump bike startup in order to become one of the better options for urban transport in Europe, as a diversification tactic from vehicles and to get around the legal and social issues on the continent. However that is not to say that it will have things easy going forward.
European cities already have numerous electric bike sharing services including Limebike, Obike and Ofo. Berlin, for example has over 18,000 shared bikes in the area courtesy of eight different corporations. These offer a better alternative to petrol based engines though they also make for a lot of clutter.
At the time the bikes have been abandoned by their owners, they are left on sidewalks and parks or become targets for vandalism. So the bike supply is already at the glut phase which is then counter-productive to the green objective. The bike would be the best way to gain the attention of the European market at this point, however.
Jump Bike Features Modify Market Considerations
The move by Uber to bring the bikes to the German along with its announcement concerning the launch of the Uber Green electric car service later during the year could work in their favor to win back the eco-friendly European markets which have put it in the blacklist.
It has had some success at home as the dock-less electric bike has already been rolled out in San Francisco, where there are 250 bikes as well as, Washington. The Chinese market has also caught on, hence the urgency to consider other viable markets. The US players are looking to keep instead with the forays of the Chinese.
These Jump bikes are opened and locked using a smartphone app. Considering they are also dockless, they cannot be left at public bike racks which eliminate some of the infrastructure cost that other bike sharing firms have to consider. The great thing is their location can be tracked via GPS which eliminates the fear of theft.